RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION IMPALA SS met with media and discussed going for the track record number of poles at AMS, the testing ban combined with switching teams, recent engine problems, the economy, racing at Bristol, and more. ON...
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION IMPALA SS met with media and discussed going for the track record number of poles at AMS, the testing ban combined with switching teams, recent engine problems, the economy, racing at Bristol, and more.
ON GOING FOR EIGHTH POLE AT AMS, WHICH WOULD BE A TRACK RECORD: "I wish I could tell you the answer. I was talking to Bobby Labonte who was going to go back to his truck and use his magnificent computer and go to ask.com to find out who is going to win the pole for tonight, which he's already revealed the answer to me. But I can't reveal it. The bottom line is I'm just excited to have the opportunity to break any record. I was thinking about it and this is probably the only record that I have the opportunity to at least declare (laughs) in 43 poles and 13 wins and Daytona and all that stuff. I've only got one chance at that record, so I'm going to try my best today to do that. Tying Buddy Baker was a feat in itself and I'm going to try to break that tie (laughs). I would joke and say that he called me this week to say he's going to come out of retirement to have a shot at sitting on the pole himself. But we all know Buddy better than that. So I just look forward to the opportunity with the Haas-Automation Chevrolet and these guys at Stewart-Haas Racing. We've improved a lot from California to Vegas in qualifying. Qualifying sixth at Vegas was what I thought was decent on my part. I just look forward to the opportunity to have a shot at it tonight."
WHAT IMPACT HAS THE TESTING BAN HAD ON YOUR TEAM? "I made the statement after California that I felt that California, the race itself was our first test of the season. That was our first opportunity to work together in those conditions. You can at test at Rockingham or New Smyrna or places like that like we did and it's not the same as testing was and it's not the same at all compared to a race. I think it did have a small impact on us but I think if you look at our performance, what we have not performed in for lack of a better word, is basically our pit stop situation. We've had a couple of loose wheels at a couple of different races and that cost us some laps and that's been very critical to get us to where we are at in the points.
"Performance-wise, we had a really fast car, a good car, even though it wasn't there the first run, throughout the race at Las Vegas and provided some track position, we could have been a top-five car. We'll just keep building on what we've started. I'm really excited to be here. I'm really excited for the rest of the season with Tony Gibson and the guys."
WITH SEVEN POLES YOU KNOW HOW TO GET AROUND HERE FOR TWO LAPS. BUT WE'VE SEEN OVER THE YEARS THAT YOUR CARS FALL OFF. HAVE YOU HIT ON ANYTHING WITH THE NEW TEAM TO KEEP IT OVER THE LONG HAUL THIS TIME? "I hope so. It's an entirely different situation now with different people and different race cars and a different style of race car. Don't get me wrong. We've got the record of a lot of poles and not so many wins, or at least a third as many wins as we have poles, but we've had some fast race cars here. We lost power steering one race and still finished 10th, one lap down. We had a tire that was out of balance and pitted while we were leading one year and went a lap down. So we've had some fast race cars. I'm not talking the first run of the race, I'm talking towards the end of the race. Unfortunately we've not gotten the results to show. We got turned around on the back straightaway running in the top five with (Dale Earnhardt) Junior at one time there. It's all in how you look at it. I've always said it's tougher to complete 500 miles faster than everybody than it is to run one lap fast and hold your breath."
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST HUMBLING OR EYE-OPENING EXPERIENCE HAVING SWITCHED FROM PENSKE TO STEWART-HAAS RACING? "I think Daytona was the most humbling to go in there as the defending champion and have all the things happen to us. That'll destroy your ego and pull your tail so far between your legs that you talk different (laughs). That's the one thing. The eye-opening thing was just the situation we've had. Just some bad pit stops and things that we didn't expect. That's the eye-opening thing. Daytona was humbling and eye-opening but being 33rd in points right now is not what we wanted to be obviously."
DO YOU HAVE A THEORY ON RECENT ENGINE PROBLEMS? "I read some of the comments after Vegas and I don't have any data to stand on, but it was a really fast race and I think Vegas had some different situations. The No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) engine failure was so early in the race that I can't blame the race track on that. A couple of other guys were in the same situation. You had guys who had engine problems in practice way before we got halfway through the race. So I have to blame some of it on the guys who are building the engines and the development that's gone into them from an R&D standpoint. To put teams in that situation, we saw some Toyota issues there at Vegas that were off-note a little bit from what we had expected. So I don't think it's necessarily this season or a change in fuel or a change in cars or anything like that. It's just the way things cycle."
BRISTOL HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME. HOW HAS YOUR DRIVING STYLE EVOLVED WITH IT? "As the cars have changed, we changed the way we drove the race track a little bit. As the race track changed, we had to readjust again. But to me, the racing is at an all-time high at Bristol compared to the way it used to be. It used to be that you kind of had to root somebody out of the way and the fans really liked that. But from a driver's standpoint, it's not the best way to race. You don't want to be looking in your rear view mirror instead of looking out your front windshield trying to worry about avoiding a crash.
"So, I look forward to going there. When we first went there with there when they reconstructed it, it was the best that it had ever been. We raced three-wide for the lead at different times. And for whatever reason when Goodyear changed the tire, it went from a three-wide race track to a two-wide race track, which is still one lane wider than it always was. I'm not bashing Goodyear by any means; it was just a tire change that seemed like it changed the way the racing was. I'm really excited about going there. I know that Tony Gibson last year had a great package underneath Mark Martin and Aric Almirola and I'm really excited about being where I am going into that race."
WITH THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT GM, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT OR WORRY ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF WHAT KIND OF MONEY MIGHT GET FUNNELED TO YOU GUYS? HOW CONCERNED YOU GUYS ARE ABOUT THAT? "I know there is a sense of concern. Got a little bit of information about that situation. Nothing that tells me what is going to happen or anything like that but I know it is a tough time for everybody out there and Chevrolet is doing their job to ensure that they don't get caught in trouble in a situation like that. It is kind of a wait and see situation I think for them as well as everybody else out there. We will have to get through this cycle and see how things go. But I am doing what I need to do as a Chevrolet driver to try to help them in all ways possible."
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE OFF WEEKEND AND IS THIS A GOOD OR BAD TIME FOR AN OFF TIME FOR A RACE TIME? "I will answer you second question first because to me it is more important. The schedule, I don't know if it was last year or two years ago, I don't know, we raced two races then had a weekend off, then ran like three races and had another weekend off. You get all this hype built up in the off season, then two weeks in to it, you are on vacation, it just didn't make a whole lot of sense. So I like this schedule definitely more than the past year. I don't remember if last year was like this or not, that has been a long time ago.
"I think we have a charity boxing tournament for a friend in Nashville that we are doing. I think it is on Saturday; it might be later during the season. Oh yea, it is on Thursday. That is like almost a week or two from now, well, I have no idea (LAUGHS). This coming Thursday. But I am not boxing because they wouldn't put anyone in the ring if I was boxing. But that is it, stay home, vacation, enjoy. Mother Nature is just getting ready to turn the corner so enjoy some fishing and outdoors."
IF YOU HAD TO BOX AGAINST ANOTHER DRIVER, WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BOX AGAINST? "Who would I want to box against? That is a tough one. Is there anybody you would like to see me box against? There are some that would be a fair fight, and I am not bashing anybody when I say this and I am going to answer your question because you asked it, just due to my height, my weight and everything else and just because I think he is a scrapper, I think Jimmy Spencer would be a heck of a boxing match. He grew up around a junkyard; he has got to have some fight in him. I know he is not a driver driver, but to me he is still a driver. Plus I know he has thrown a few punches before."
YOUR TEAM OWNER WAS PRETTY UPSET ABOUT THE TIRES HERE LAST YEAR, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE TIRE HERE THIS YEAR? "If you do your job well, you will hear us after the race. It is too early to tell. I have no idea what the tire is going to be like. I have no idea what the track is going to be like. This track, if you look at the history and the way it ages, you just never know after another off-season and add on top of it, the snow from last week, you just never know what it is going to be like. Not to put all the emphasis on Goodyear, but I have no idea what it is going to be like and we will speak always speak our piece afterwards. That is just what we do. It is just we have to do it in the right, we have to play our music on the right channels."
-credit: gm racing